Pain: A Misunderstood Problem

Pain is the leading cause of visits to healthcare professionals in the United States, despite the fact that most Americans accept it as a part of the human condition to see their doctor only when they begin to feel desperate.

Pain Medicine specialist understand pain, not only in terms of its association with numerous diseases and trauma but also in its chronic states as a central nervous system disorder in itself.  That view is NOT shared by most doctors who have no formal education and little interest in pain as a clinical problem.  

How We Evaluate Your Pain

A  thorough knowledge of the neurophsyiology of pain, the clinical tools available to evaluate it, and experience in thorough physical examination of the nervous system are all critical to proper evaluation. 

There are numerous physical signs and symptoms that can tell the Pain Medicine physician what part or parts of the body are responsible for generating pain.  Additionally, attention to psychological and social issues and/or co-existing disease are important, as they may modify the pain experience.

An initial evaluation at our clinic takes 1-2 hours and will involve filling out a thorough pain and medical questionnaire, a comprehensive interview and physical examination by the doctor and a summary discussion of the results of the evaluation along with a treatment plan.

How We Treat Your Pain

Once it is established what is responsible for and what is modifying your pain, a great variety of treatment is available.  As a general rule, we use a graduated approach, choosing first those low-risk treatments that have some proven value and are the least likely to have any dangerous side effects.  This might include, but is not limited to pain education, lifestyle change counseling, various kinds of physical therapy and biofeedback.  There are many drugs that may be helpful.  Those that are non-habituating and have have the least risk are chosen first.  For more difficult or refractory cases there is a wide variety of more invasive or higher risk treatment available, including more potent pharmacological

agents, nerve blocks and delivery of drugs or electrical stimulation to the spinal cord.

Many of our patients have problems using prescription drugs and/or substances of abuse in association with their pain.

 Treatment of these issues is critical to successful pain management.

We will work with you within your belief system and NEVER GIVE UP trying to find the answers which work best for you.

Richard L. Stieg, MD,MHS
Board Certified in Neurology,Pain Medicine and Addiction Medicine